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The Gop Does Obama A Favor

Noam's going to have more on tonight's GOP debate in Florida, but here's one quick reaction: The Republicans did Barack Obama, John Edwards, and all the other non-Hillary Democrats a big favor tonight. The candidates mocked and derided Hillary constantly, and the crowd joyously whooped and cheered them on. Some of it was absolutely cheap, as when Mike Huckabee said that Clinton's election would destroy the morale of the U.S. military. Or when a member of Frank Luntz's focus group on Fox declared "she'll end America as we know it.") But it's hard to watch that spectacle and feel that Hillary doesn't have a unique visceral effect on Republican voters likely to galvanize them in an general election. Which is exactly what Hillary's primary rivals want you to believe.

Relatedly, the Washington Post had a piece today questioning how successful Hillary has really been in winning over conservative upstate New York voters. TNR's Marisa Katz was asking the same question nearly two years ago--and made an essential point the Post didn't get at: Much of Hillary's success upstate was the result of tireless retail politics, a model she simply can't replicate nationally.

--Michael Crowley